brief snapshots in time. memories and thoughts. disorganized and random.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

life is beautiful

our trip to the mountains started out great. after relaxing with my nieces and sister-in-law for a little while, we walked down the street to the Italian place.

after dinner, I slept well. really well. better than I had in months. the next morning we lazily enjoyed our breakfast and got ready to go hiking.

it was cloudy. the trail I'd taken a dozen times was the one we'd planned to take that day. but with the clouds, and likelihood of lightening, we decided a trail mostly below tree line was a better idea.

we got to the trailhead. there were other cars, but not too crowded. the hike followed an old mining road for the first few tenths of a mile.

the view back down the gulch was beautiful.

after an old mining cabin, the trail got a little more treacherous. narrow. rocky. exposed tree roots. but we made decent time, except my constant stopping to take pictures.

after stopping to borrow bug spray from a group of hikers, since we had left ours in the car, I commented to J how the hikers seem to get friendlier the further you get from the Front Range. the trails close to the cities seem to have more tourists. more inconsiderate people.

as we continued our climb, the beautiful blooming wildflowers were in sharp contrast to the jagged rocks and majestic pine trees.




the trail meandered past incredible water falls. after the falls we lost the trail a few times. scrambling up granite outcroppings, wandering in the trees.

the long way around sometimes gives a different perspective. I was awestruck by the rugged scenery. so different from the valley two south, where I camped so many times as a kid. also, so different from the valley two north, where I've hiked so many times.

we arrived at our "destination." the hanging lake. the rain started gently falling. TheDog and I climbed down to the lake. amazing how it sits on the edge, water slowly falling over the edge of the cliff.

I would have liked to stay longer. let TheDog swim longer. explore the shore a bit more. but the clouds were darkening, and we thought it best to head on down.

as we started our descent. I decided my sister and I needed to bring TheDog and her dog up here before the end of the season. so TheDog could swim with her friend.



on our way down the rain continued gently. the trail was getting muddier. at one point I slipped on a bit of mud. a tree root caught my foot. but the rest of me kept sliding. my ankle twisted. something snapped. I hit the ground.

the pain shot up my leg and exploded through my body. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't put any weight on my leg. and just then it started to pour.
just putting my foot on the ground was excruciating. there was no way I'd walk out of there.
J helped me half crawl under the trees. my mind raced. I'd have to send J for help. maybe find some sticks to use as crutches.

just then a couple and their nephew came upon us. they offered to help us down. sent their nephew on with their cell to call for help as soon as he got service. they helped me hop. and when that was going really slow. he picked me up and carried me fireman style.

then another couple caught up to us. the two guys helped me hop and carried me when they could. a while later two more couples caught up to our slow moving group. they sent their wives on to help the nephew summon help.

the four guys took turns carrying me, helping me hop down the trail. we'd gone almost a mile when we got back to the mining road. about a tenth of a mile from the trailhead we heard the sound of wheels on the rocks. we stopped. it was the search and rescue team.

after thanking my real rescuers, the amazingly nice hikers that got me most of the way back to civilization, the rescue guys got my ankle immobilized and took me down to the ambulance.

once in the ER, the news came that it was indeed broken. the ER doc said he was fairly sure I'd need surgery. but I needed to go see an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible.

today I saw the orthopedic surgeon. tomorrow he's performing the surgery. I'm scared. I've never broken a bone before. I've never had surgery before. but somehow I know it's all going to be alright.

the kindness of strangers on a hiking trail has completely renewed my faith in people. in myself. in life. they have reminded me that life is beautiful.

8 comments:

Amy said...

what a wretched way to end such a beautiful hike!! I am so sorry! But so grateful for the kindness of strangers! I will keep you in my prayers today for your surgery. You are in good hands, and I am certain all will go well.

Wordnerd said...

Awwww! I'm so glad those other hikers were there. Here's wishing you a speedy recovery!

((((Hugs))))

Jeremy said...

People like you make life beautiful.

I am so sorry for your accident. I know how anxious I get when I am layed up with an injury - I can't wait to get back out on the trail, or back on my skiis. Take it easy and allow yourself to heal completely.

I am glad you had the kindness of strangers to make what could have been an awful situation, not-so-bad in the end.

hubs said...

the titled of this one really fooled me. hoping for a speedy recovery.

Brian Lavery said...

RG so sorry about your accident!
You don't need any more hospital time.

Glitter/Aleka said...

How horrible. I hope you feel better! You always seem to have something happen!

Rebecca said...

Oh no! I haven't been by in a while, and I'm sorry to see that you had quite the experience! But your photos are beautiful, if it's any consolation?!?

:)

2much411 said...

Oh my gosh. It started off such a beautiful vacation. I love your pictures. I think I would have gone into shock, hearing the snap of my own bones breaking. You're one tough mama.